A FALKLANDS veteran and his family claim they have been forced to live in a Peugeot 206 after being evicted from an emergency council facility.
On Monday Aylesbury Vale District Council kicked Ivor Sibthorpe, 54, his wife Anne, 46, and their 17-year-old son out of Griffin House in Aylesbury – where they had been staying since October last year.
The move was branded ‘disgusting’ by councillor Michael Beall who pledged to help the family. Councillor Raj Khan says it left him worried about the lack of housing provision in the town if vulnerable adults could be ‘thrown out on the streets of Aylesbury’.
Mr Sibthorpe is due to undergo a psychiatric evaluation today (Wednesday) after being referred by a doctor who believes he is suffering from the effects of combat stress.
The former RAF engineer said: “It seems like they are prepared to let you go off to war for the country, but forget you when you get back.
“It is not just war heroes, it can happen to anybody if you have financial problems.”
Mr Sibthorpe has criticised AVDC for being unable to find him any accommodation and forcing him to ‘worry about what is happening next week or the week after’.
Across the Vale, Griffin House is the only council facility to offer emergency and temporary accommodation.
On average it takes between two months and two years to get a place in one of the Vale’s 7,300 housing trust properties – and there are currently 5,562 people on the waiting list.
Mr Sibthorpe ended up at Griffin House in October 2011 after he was evicted from his privately rented home in Viridian Square for not paying his rent.
AVDC ruled that his ‘homelessness was brought about intentionally’ in an official report in November 2011 and he was given 28 days to leave. Mr Sibthorpe appealed the decision, but lost.
After the appeal he was ordered to leave by the end of March 2012, but that was extended until the end of April after he requested more time.
Councillor Raj Khan, who has been following the case, said: “Mr Sibthorpe has not got the best history in terms of rent-history and arrears. There is a lot of issues and Mr Sibthorpe could have managed his situation much better.
“But what is wrong is that I can’t watch people being thrown out on to the street.
“I think all avenues need to be exhausted.
“The council could have looked at it and supported him more – but I know they have done a lot.
“The council is in as much of a quandary about this as I am. It is a difficult situation.
“But what I can’t tolerate and accept is him being thrown out on the streets of Aylesbury.”
AVDC has confirmed it has referred Mr Sibthorpe’s details to Buckinghamshire’s Social Services for ‘possible assistance’.
The authority has also added the family to the housing waiting list and advised him ‘to look for alternative accommodation in the private sector’.
In a statement, AVDC’s housing needs and advice manager Roy Brooks said: “We have worked for some time to help resolve this family’s problems and given extension to their stay at Griffin Place to enable them to find alternative accommodation.”
Mr Sibthorpe worked as an engineer in the RAF until he left in 1988. He settled in Aylesbury after meeting his wife-to-be Anne while stationed at RAF Halton.
Since leaving the forces he has undertaken a series of jobs, including working as a traffic warden for AVDC between 1994 and 2001. He is currently signed off work as a traffic warden in Oxford. He received housing benefit to help fund his stay at Griffin House.